by Emily Anne Fullerton
Historically, coffee shops have always been a place of gathering. A place to talk politics, catch up with old friends, and a place to focus when you have a few too many things on your to-do list. And now, what used to be a run-down Cash for Gold has quickly become one of Riverdale’s community hot spots.
Everyone from students needing a chilled-out place to do their homework, to sharply dressed professionals and politicians holding meetings, to mommy groups of 12 with their newborn babies nestled in their arms, Goat Coffee Co. is truly a place where the community gathers.
Opened in 2014, business owners Anna and Damian Michaelidis or “Mama Goat” and “Papa Goat,” as they lovingly refer to each other as, have been dedicated to providing members of their community with excellent local products and customer service that resonates on a deep and personal level.
As long-time members of the Riverdale community, and with Anna being a seasoned real estate professional, the couple wanted to create a local hub with style and pizzazz. With a space on the corner of Pape and Sammon Avenues ripe for the taking, they surveyed the neighbourhood to find out exactly what should go there. The neighbourhood asked, and they received: a coffee shop.
As a result, Anna and Damian have created a space that is welcoming, vibrant, artistic and indie: a direct reflection of the residents who go there.
The decor is rustic and beautiful. “Papa Goat” himself has done all of the woodwork using repurposed old whiskey barrels from the 1800s. There are hanging Edison light bulbs and cozy exposed brick. And of course, there’s the star of many Instagram photos, the signature red and light-up letters spelling “GRAZE” on the main wall, enticing passersby to stop in and do exactly that.
And they won’t be disappointed if they do. The brewed coffee is truly exceptional. The chef is cooking up incredible brunch-style menu items such as stuffed french toast on the daily, and products such as Sloan Tea and fresh-pressed juice from Forbidden Fruit, two local companies, are proudly being sold and supported as well.
Quickly becoming a neighbourhood legend, the name “Goat” was based on one itself: the legend of Kaldi, an Ethopian goatherd who noticed his goats getting hyped up by eating the cherry-red berries of the coffee shrubs, thus allowing coffee and its magical effects to be discovered.
So go ahead and graze at the Goat. You might just discover something wonderful.